Dough sticking to seasoned aluminum pans...what can I do?

I am trying to open up my pizza shop…finally! But there is one major problem. I bought new, bright, shiney aluminum pans, and seasoned them. I lightly coated them with oil and ran them thru my middleby marshall oven at 480 degrees for 25 minutes each. They now have a patchy, light amber look on them, and a nice tacky feeling when you run your fingertips on them.
My pizzas are coming out pretty good, BUT they stick EVERY TIME. I oil the heck out of them before pressing the dough out on them, let them proof for a couple hours, and stick them in the cooler until the next day.
I don’t know what else to do. The pans are seasoned, oiled and making nice pizza, but sometimes the pizza sticks so bad it ruins the pizza trying to scrape it off the pan. I cannot open my store if half the pizzas are going to get destroyed because they won’t come off the pan. Not to mention how time consuming and frustrating it will be to anyone with that task…

Any advice???


Seems odd. Once pans are seasoned it is rare for them to start sticking. You are not washing them between pies and ruining the seasoning are you? Also, when we season new pans we run them through the oven 6-8 times before we ever make pizza in them.

What style pizza are you making where you are proofing the dough in the pans? Also, I am confused when you say “on” or “off” the pan rather than “in” and “out” of the pan… we are talking deep dish right? We make a chicago style pan pizza but we do not put the dough in the pan until right before we par-bake the crust.


We don’t use our pans until they are almost black from seasoning, they get to a deep redish amber state, we bake them one more time, and then they seem perfect.

“I oil the heck out of them before pressing the dough out on them, let them proof for a couple hours, and stick them in the cooler until the next day.”

I would assume most of the oil added would be absorbed into the dough by the next day, also if you are letting them proof at room temperature before putting them in the cooler for 2 hours+ you could be blowing the dough (exhausting the yeast before it’s cooked).

We had problems one time with a big order to a company in town here we created the pizza’s the night before, and put them in the cooler premade. The next day the dough had risen around the toppings so much that the crust had almost separated from the pizza when baked!

If your style is to pan the dough before use you could try adding half the oil, pushing out the dough to about 70% the size of the pan, then put them in the cooler asap. The day of use take out the shells for use to warm up to room temp and upon use finish pressing. (that seems to be consistently what Tom Lehman suggests and I try and absorb as much knowledge as I can from his posts!)


How are the pizzas stacked? Is there anything that keeps the weight off the bottom pizzas? I had a problem with my party pans because they are separated with plastic but there is no lip on the pan to keep them from getting pressed down.
Also. Are you letting the pans get warmed before putting in the oven?

Bodegahwy, and Everyone…
I am not washing the pans. I have only run the pans through the oven a couple times trying to get them properly seasoned. Maybe I need to run them through a few more times? Our style of pizza is just regular pizza. About a 1/2" thick crust. We use the wide rim aluminum pans with the bright finish.
When putting the dough on the pans, we first oil the heck out of them, then after the whole batch of dough has been cut to size and put on the oiled pans, we flip the glob of dough over and swirl it all around the pan to make sure the oil is on every part of the pan. Then we “First Press” the dough. Just pressing out enough to cover about 1/2 to 3/4 the size of the pan. When they are all First Pressed, we then “Second Press” them so they cover the whole pan. We try to time it so that once the dough finishes mixing, it spends about 2 hours at room temperature before being put in the cooler.
The next day, we take them out of the cooler as needed, just prior to using them.
I hope all these details help someone on here say, “Hey, what you’re doing wrong is…”
Thanks Everyone for the great advice! I guess I will be lightly oiling and running my pans through the oven all day today! lol

Flat pizza pans are not for baking. They are used for serving. Most operators use screens or stones for baking.
Dough does not need to be oiled like that.
Most operators are putting the dough in the walk-in as soon as possible after scaling and rolling to proof as doughballs.
Dough is proofed before you toss or roll it out to size at the time you make the pizza.

Your methods are unlike anything I have ever seen or heard of.

When I season my pans I find the ones that are still tacky are the ones that tend to stick. I season by doing a light rub of oil and run the pan through the oven at 350 with the speed set as slow as it will go. If the pan is tacky it goes through the oven again.

This method he is using is quite common around here. I would say over 50% of the pizzerias here use it.

Live and learn I guess.

Spreading the dough by pressing it out on the pan all covered with oil? Then are they stacked while they wait? Sounds to me like using a pan and all that oil you would end up with a fried crust? Is that the case?

I know that in the past we have had to train employees NOT to put extra oil in our DD pans or the crust tends to fry which can also make them stick in the pans.

I can help here alot.

The issue is you put to much oil in them for seasoning them. It will take about 2 weeks for them not to be sticky

I used to season my pans this way until I found a better way. Now we just barley oil them i mean super super light.

We get a paper towel fold it a few times then just dunk a corner of the towel in the oil and lightly skim the pan. I mean so lightly that you almost can’t tell there is oil on it unless you move the pan around and see the oil shimmer from light reflection. It’s kind of hard to explain this on the Internet

But it works soooo much better, no sticking and they still will turn black and get totally seasoned after a month or so. The old way of coating them and burning them and having that golden yellow tacky feel is horrible and the pizzas will stick to them for weeks sometimes

So apply the oil as thin as you possibly can, you should see no streaks in the oil and if you run your finger over it should not transfer

We also do pan pizza not deep dish though and i have experience with the tacky pans they will stick and yes it is too much oil that you are using for seasoning. You need to wipe off all the excess oil that is in the pan with a paper towel before seasoning if the pans are tacky put them back in the oven and wipe off the excess oil before they cool down.

We proof our dough in the cooler for 24 hours sheet into the pan let them proof for about 30 - 45 min depending on how hot it is then put them back in the cooler. They must be used the same day though next day they are spent.

I totally agree with Georgiascp’s response (above). When we season our pans we dip a small piece of paper towel in the oil (salad oil) and wipe it in and on the pan (You want to season both sides of the pan). We run the oiled pan through the oven at 400 to 425F (the flash point for many oils is around 435 to 450F) so you want to stay under that temperature unless you want to have pan flambe. After the first pass (10-minutes) I reset the temperature to 450F and adjust the baking time to 15 to 20-minutes, this does a pretty good job the first time around. What you will end up with is an amber coloring on the pan, but it will be tack free. After that, you can continue passing the pans through the oven to darken the finish, or begin using the pans and the finish will darken with continued use. Since you already have a thick, gummy finish you might try using shortening on the pans for now rather than oil. The shortening should give you a better release and it will certainly help with stretching the dough to fit the pan. Whatever you do, DO NOT wash your seasoned pans by tossing them into a sink of hot, soapy water as this will result in the seasoning peeling off like a bad sunburn, then you will need to either replace the pans or remove all of the seasoning and start all over again. There are some very real advantages to using dark colored anodized pans, they don’t need to be seasoned in the traditional way, and they can be washed without fear of ruining the seasoning. If you ABSOLUTELY MUST wash your seasoned pans, here is hoe to do it;

  1. Grasp a pan, dip in soapy water, scrub with plastic bristle brush.
  2. Rinse.
  3. Sanitize.
  4. towel dry (inside and out).
  5. Force dry be passing the pans through the oven set at 400F (temperature not critical) for about 3-minutes.
  6. Allow to cool and stack.
    Note: Between steps #1 through #4 you should NEVER let the pan out of your grasp. We have seasoned pans with a very long use history that have been handled in this manner and the seasoning is still in great shape. I also have pans that were accidentally allowed to soak that we have put aside to show our students what happens when you allow a seasoned pan to soak. If your health department mandates that you wash your pans daily, you should probably look into the dark anodized pans because you just know that someone will end up soaking your seasoned pans, and you can’t make pizzas in the pans if the seasoning is peeling off.
    Some place in the archived “In Lehmann’s Terms” articles there’s a good synopsis on pan care that covers all of this in greater detail.
    Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Thanks so much jokergerm! I have spent the last several days doing just what you said to my pans. A very light skim of oil and then running them thru the ovens over and over again until they darken, and until they are NOT tacky…lol. I hope this works. Pulling my hair out here!

Thanks Tom and Everyone…you guys are lifesavers!

I used to do that but I found that you can just run them threw once and use them

The pizza will not stick to the pans anymore and in about 3 weeks they will be dark anyways so why waste the effort in doing this repeatedly

It works for me.